The Invitational at SCG CON begins today, with the split-format event featuring Pioneer and Modern. The Pioneer metagame continues to evolve with weekly bans. It can be hard to keep up.

What are the important cards to have ready for Pioneer events this weekend? These are my must-haves for Pioneer, and should be in your arsenal of cards.

Thoughtseize will be huge this weekend and going forward. Now that Veil of Summer has been banned, finally the great Thoughtseize will have its time to shine.  It is the glue that holds together many midrange decks, good against both control and combo.

The primary deck looking to leverage Thoughtseize in Pioneer right now is Mono-Black Devotion. Expect the number of decks running the card to go up.

Field of Ruin will be another major player this weekend. Various Ramp decks lean on Field of the Dead, and Devotion decks all need Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Both those lands must be answered.

Finding the correct deck to play Field of Ruin is the hard part. Good contenders include Azorius Flash or Seasons Past midrange decks.

Both Wild Slash and Bonecrusher Giant fill an important need in Pioneer right now. Not because of the two damage, but because of the ability to stop damage from being prevented. Nexus of Fate could be a real threat in the Pioneer rounds of the Invitational. Thus, answering a Fog becomes more urgent than usual.

You can see these spells in Phoenix, Red Aggro, and even some Emerge builds. The two damage doesn’t hurt either.

The Royal Scions have been seeing play and performing well in various shells. Grixis Midrange combines the planeswalker with Dreadhorde Arcanist, pumping it up to get more powerful spells from the graveyard.

Temur Planeswalkers that uses Heart of Kiran, and the Scions have plenty of loyalty to crew the ship for many turns. I can also see them in Phoenix sideboards to provide more consistency.

Emerge decks are very strong right now. Kozilek’s Return is an instant-speed Wrath that may have some value on the front end, but the flashback portion of it is killer.  With Prized Amalgam, Stitchwing Skaab, and Haunted Dead, you have plenty of ways to emerge cheaply.

Elder Deep Fiend has flash, which can trigger the wrath whenever you need it. Just don’t forget about it in the graveyard.

The decks built around Winding Constrictor and Hardened Scales have shown serious power.  They get on board quickly and apply a lot of pressure. Once Upon a Time find Winding Constrictor, making it more consistent.

Steel Overseer and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar can throw around a lot of +1/+1 counters, and you win with Walking Ballista.  I would strongly consider playing this deck in Pioneer events this weekend.

Stonecoil Serpent is one of the better creatures in the format. It fits in all sorts of decks, can be cast with any type of mana, and fills a number of holes. It is the champion among Elks, laughing at Oko. Bouncing Stonecoil Serpent with Teferi, Time Raveler rarely feels good either.

It has the hidden text of Reach too. You can block fliers all day long. As an artifact, it fits easily in decks built around Hardened Scales or Ensoul Artifact. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it do well over the weekend.

There are a lot of great cards and strategies in Pioneer that doesn’t revolve around T3feri or Oko.  I think the cards mentioned will be pretty powerful throughout the event. What are some of your favorite cards in Pioneer right now?

Zack is a SCG grinder with one ultimate goal: getting to the Players Championship. Based out of NYC, you can find him in other cities every weekend trying to hit that goal. When he isn’t traveling he streams. Follow his journey on Twitter!

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.